Laundry Refresh

It’s been a minute since I’ve actually written a post! We have been road-tripping and enjoying what is left of Summer before Hollis starts her first year of pre-school next week. I have been taking a break from projects and have been focusing on organizing ALL THE THINGS. I have gutted all the closets, except the bedroom closets, which I plan to tackle soon. A lot of our closets on the first floor have not been sorted through since we moved here, I kind of just dumped random things in them that didn’t have a home at the time. Now that we are settled here, a lot of the items found homes elsewhere in the house, and other things got purged and donated.

Anyway…while I was organizing the laundry room closet, which is also our coat closet, I felt like the whole room could really use a refresh. The laundry room is right off the entry way when you walk into our house. It’s literally the first room you see and it really doesn’t reflect the style of our house.  It has a door on it, but honestly we never shut it. You can always see right into the laundry room when you walk in the door. Because of that, I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping the room tidy, but there is no decor whatsoever and the wall color is leftover paint from our last house.

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I had hung a couple of utility shelves with rods when we first moved here. I thought that I would use them a lot more than I do, but I really don’t store much on them and I usually only hang a couple of things at a time so I really don’t need so much hanging space. I ended up taking the shelves down and using them in the coat closet. I hung them quite a bit higher than the rod that was in there to free up space below the coats. I originally had a rolling laundry cart with three canvas bins for sorting laundry….but I NEVER used it. It just collected things in it that we were too lazy to put away. So I also moved it into the closet under the coats and that is where we keep and organize our sport/outdoor activities (ie. balls, baseball mitts, bats, kites, etc.)

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After all the closet organizing, I was left with a half empty laundry room. I was able to really think about what I need in the space and not just feel like I have to fill the space with stuff we already have because that is what worked in our old house. I can’t believe it took me three years to figure that out!

I want to just do a mini-makeover to revive the space and add some style and personality to it, because it’s definitely lacking right now. Here is my to-do list:

  • paint the walls
  • switch out the fluorescent light fixture
  • add a shelf to hold a laundry basket or two
  • add a hook(s) to hang a few laundered items
  • add some artwork
  • add some decorative storage containers
  • maybe add a plant to liven up the space
  • hang items like the drying rack and ironing board
  • find a new runner

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Room To Lounge

There is one room in our house that is in constant flux. The playroom. I’m ALWAYS in there cleaning, picking up toys, rearranging things to accommodate our (quickly) growing children. It seems like every few months the kids’ needs change, and thus, so does the playroom.

I’m so grateful we have a room to use just for the kids to play in. Especially since we don’t have a finished basement and our bedrooms are all upstairs, it’s nice for the kids to have a safe place on the main floor to play where I can keep close watch of them. I’m especially grateful for it this Summer because it has been too hot to play outside some days, like this ENTIRE WEEK. While it has been so hot, we’ve been having afternoon movie time. I turn the lights off, close the curtains, make a comfy pillow fort, grab some snacks and lay down and watch a movie, or two. This movie time is awesome because 1. it’s a cool distraction from outside and 2. both kids usually fall asleep!

I noticed that the rooms current layout was not very accommodating for movie time, or even just lounging, especially for us adults when we are in there. The room is large, but has two large picture windows and two large door openings. Our t.v. has been on the wall in the corner which made it tricky to comfortably place a sofa without it being in the center of the room. The t.v. placement was one of those decisions we made hastily when we first moved in, without really knowing where we would need/want it.

Here is a look at the previous layout. Basically the sofa was in the middle of the room, and the four corners were separate little play areas. I liked this layout while the kids were smaller, because they could both play with their own toys in separate corners. These days, they are more into the same toys and need more room to spread out and play.

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Since the room is somewhat long and narrow, I decided to split it in half and dedicate half to a ‘lounge’ area and half to the play area. This required moving the wall mounted t.v. and praying that the cable cord would reach to the new spot. Luckily it did with a little finesse.

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I moved all of our toy storage onto one wall and painted the old bookshelf a glossy white to make it look more like one unit. I got really lucky that it all fit nicely onto that one wall and then centered the t.v. above it.

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I also got lucky that our sofa/futon just barely fit along the back wall.  I wish I had a little more room for an end table or two, but I may end up finding a long narrow table to go behind it. I’m not too worried about it right now, because the futon will be replaced one of these days when the kids are older. Right now though, we are loving having a futon in this space for movie watching, naps, and when we have extra guests staying with us.

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I love that it feels cozy, but there is still plenty of room for the kids to get out their toys in this area. Lots of Duplo building goes on in this space. We had a hard time getting our tent out without moving things around before, and now there is plenty of room for it.

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Hollis did end up losing her painted house mural, but I promised I would fix up her little kitchen area as a compromise. The Ikea kitchen needed some paint touch-ups and while I was at it, I just ended up giving it a whole new farmhouse makeover. I still have a shelf to hang for her baby doll accessories and I let her pick some artwork to hang along the walls.

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Bowen is a big fan of the kitchen lately too. I have plans for a little tool/garage area for him on the opposite wall. He is getting a workbench for Christmas this year so I have a little time before I focus on that. I’m sure Hollis will enjoy it as well.

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I’m sure this room will change again, but so far I’m really happy with this new layout. The kids seem to be really happy with it too. It just feels so much bigger and more open. I love makeovers that just require a little furniture rearranging and minimal paint…and that are totally FREE!!

That Time I Painted Upholstery…

We’ve had these set of three chairs that we snagged for free from the very nice people at our bank, of all places, for months. Two of them are meant for Brian’s office, but the third…the third one is all mine (rubs hands together maniacally). The chairs are in great shape, they just have a very 60’s, masculine vibe to them. I’ve used the third chair in almost all the rooms in our house, most currently in our bedroom. We have a weird little nook in our bedroom with Brian’s dresser and one of these chairs fits there nicely too. It really comes in handy when you want to sit and tie your shoes or set the laundry basket in for a couple days…or weeks.

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As most of you know, I’ve been working on our master bedroom and trying to make it feel a little more ‘polished’ and little less ‘hot mess’. Currently this chair is just too brown and orange for my needs. I want to lighten it up a bit and make it feel more rustic/shabby chic and less 60’s office waiting room.

I started by spray painting the wood frame an ivory color. I planned on removing the cushions and covering them in a nice gray, velvet….that was the plan. The bottom cushion cooperated nicely and was super easy to remove with a few screws. The back cushion was not going to come off easily I realized after removing half of the studs. My fear was that I would tear it up too much to be able to re-attach it. I had this problem with the last chairs I re-upholstered. I never could get the backs back on them, so they stayed off. Luckily those chairs didn’t really need the back cushion, but this chair does. It just wouldn’t be comfortable without it.

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Cut to me watching 37-ish tutorials on YouTube about how to paint upholstery. I know…I was skeptical to say the least, but after watching video after video, I felt somewhat confident that I could do it. Worse case scenario, it doesn’t work and I rip out the back cushion and try to recover it.

I bought some acrylic paint (some video tutorials used latex), and some fabric medium. The directions were pretty simple: combine one part paint, one part fabric medium, and one part water. I did about 1/4 cup of each since the area I had to paint was actually pretty small. I chose a medium gray color for my paint because the cushions were pretty dark. I didn’t want to choose a color that was too light and have to paint 10 coats.

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The first coat was scary. I really started to second guess my choices at this point. The paint is pretty runny and it looks a lot like a stain more than a coat of paint. Also it is really important to let your fabric have a full 24 hours to dry in between coats. Another tip that I found weird, but necessary, was to sand the fabric in between coats with a fine sand paper. It sounds crazy, but it really helped the fabric to soften up and feel less stiff.

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Luckily after three coats things started to look a lot better. The pattern of the fabric still shows through, so if you don’t like the pattern on your upholstery, this is not a good option for you. Also, the upholstery is NOT as soft as it was originally. Even with sanding between coats, it ends up feeling more like a canvas drop cloth. Still comfortable to touch, just a little more stiff.

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After I reattached my cushion, I decided that the ivory paint was too basic and boring.  I just wasn’t feeling it. So I grabbed some gray stain and dry-brushed it all over the wood frame. Then I grabbed a sanding block and roughed up the paint around the edges and the spindles. I love that rustic, well-loved look on this chair.

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I haven’t antiqued much furniture, but I feel like it really works on this chair. I kind of want to find more furniture try it on…(more maniacal hand rubbing).

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Also, I saw this pillow at the back of the store all the way from the entrance. It was practically screaming at me to take it home with that bold navy and white print. Then I got closer and noticed the blush pink tassels and it immediately went into my cart. And yes, that store was TJ Maxx.

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I have to say, painting upholstery was not something I ever thought I would try, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Would I paint a comfy chair that I love to relax in or cozy up and watch a movie in?…Probably not. But it works for a chair we sit in occasionally for a short periods of time. I feel like it adds just enough farmhouse/shabby chic-ness to the bedroom and is a nice contrast to the dark walls and wood trim.

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Reaching The Unreachable

Guys! The wall along the stairs is FINALLY painted and I didn’t die or break any bones!!

So as you know, I’ve been living with an almost finished paint job for weeks (so many weeks that I’ve lost count). We had everything painted except for one spot directly above the bottom 3 stairs. I was desperate to get to that spot, no matter what. We came up with a slight sketchy plan, that kind of freaked us out. It involved cinderblocks and more than one person holding the ladder…and we were not super excited about trying it.

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Luckily, we got rain here…lots and lots of rain. Which gave Brian a day off and led us to heading to Menards. We went in for something completely unrelated to painting, but Brian suggested we peruse the paint isles just in case we were missing some magical answer to our paint problem. We ended up grabbing a few gadgets that I haven’t tried before, but I didn’t have a whole lot of hope that any of them would help me reach the spot.

We grabbed a couple of things, one of them was this little corner roller attachment that goes on an extension pole. I wasn’t too confident about it, but for less than $4, we got it to try. I figured I could use it for future projects at least.

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It is super lightweight and the shape was perfect for getting into the grooves of the paneling as well as along the quarter round piece of trim that connects our trim and ceiling.

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You can see above that I got a couple of spots of paint on the ceiling. One of those spots is actually from our regular roller where I tried to reach and slipped. So only one is from this little corner roller. I will get out the ceiling paint and try to cover those up soon. I plan on taping my paint brush to the extension rod to do so. I used this trick in the pic below to finish up the wall paint in the few spots that the corner roller didn’t get to.

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I was super scared to try this with the paint brush, especially around the window trim, but it actually worked great. I definitely didn’t trust myself to get too close to the ceiling with it, but it did a pretty good job of filling in the gaps.

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Sorry for the super blurry Snapchat pic, but I was so dang excited for this moment!

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Here is a little less blurry pic of the after. You can still see a few lighter spots where the paint is still wet from my touch up.

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I can’t even put into words how happy I am to cross this project off my list! Especially without having to do any balancing acts on the ladder again. I am so happy to get the giant ladder off our stairs where it’s been living for the last couple of months. So far are really happy with the color…which is great, because I am NOT painting in here again for a long, long time.

Inspirado: Perfect Blue Bedding

First off let me just say, I LOVE an all white bed. When I picture my dream bedroom, it has a bed overflowing with fluffy, pillowy, white bedding. As much as it makes my heart go pitter-patter, I also have two small children who love to hang out in our bed and leave all kinds of mystery stains…

Other than painting the walls, buying a bed, and making over the nightstands, this room has kind of been neglected while I focused on other projects.  We have been living with just a plain white duvet insert on our bed for the past three years and I had every intention on finding the perfect white duvet to go over it, but just never really found one that fit the bill. After living with the white comforter every day for a few years and constantly washing and bleaching, I’m starting to realize maybe my white bedding dreams are just not meant to be right now.

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve shared any current pics of our bedroom, so here is a peek at what’s happening in there right now. I still have a lot to do in this room and I’m hoping the right bedding will be a good jumping off point for everything else. I want this room to have a modern farmhouse feel, as opposed to the blah feeling it currently has.  I’m for sure keeping the bed, paint, and the artwork over the bed, everything else can stay or go.

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I found a pair of plug-in wall sconces that I would love to replace our bedside lamps with. This is the only spot in the room that fits our bed and nightstands, so I wouldn’t mind some more permanent lighting here. It would also free up some much needed space and add some interest to the wall.

 

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My dresser was in the spot where the hamper is, but I recently moved it into the closet. The closet is an awkward, under the stairs closet and my dresser just barely fits but it has helped declutter our room a little bit. Before, it felt like you were walking right into it when you entered the room. The room is small and feels cluttered really easily, so I’m hoping to make it feel a little more open and airy. (I have plans for the this mirror above, and the chair below needs a makeover, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.)

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So…I am now on the hunt for the perfect bedding that compliments our modern bed, but also feels a little bit rustic.  Our bed is a dark gray tweed fabric, and it is the only gray thing in the room, so I would like to incorporate some gray into the bedding or with throw pillows or something.

Here is some of my inspiration so far…I’m leaning more towards the ones with a little beige and ivory in them, but man I like that bold water color one too.

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The Stairwell Is Painted!…Well, Almost.

I know it’s kind of unconventional to share after photos of a project that isn’t really done, BUT  a.) I’m so dang close to being done b.) I don’t know exactly when I will get it done and c.) I may break my neck in the process of trying to finish it, so I figure I better just share it now.

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, you should), then you already know that I started painting the stairwell a few weeks ago. It is the last area of unpainted paneling in the whole house, so I’m really excited to be done with it…you know, almost. I was super unmotivated to get started on it though, because I knew it was going to be a tricky project. I’ve painted a stairwell before in our previous house. It was a pain….and it was nowhere near as steep as this stairwell, so I was really dreading it. I consulted Brian about it and he borrowed a ladder for me and helped me devise a plan to at least get me started. I knew once I got started, I would be heavily motivated to finish.

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In case you are wondering why we don’t just remove the paneling, our house is 100 years old and the plaster that is behind the paneling is cracked and marked and would be awful to look at and super expensive to fix. So we are keeping it up, and I have to say, I don’t hate it. I quite like the texture it adds, even if it is kind of a pain to paint.

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We used Brian’s dad’s extension ladder, which extends and also folds over into an A-frame ladder. I used it both ways to make my way up the stairs. It was terrifying in some places. I have no problem with heights, but I do have a problem with being at the top of a very tall ladder and it moving on me. So I got as high, and reached as far as I could, but there is still one spot that I can’t quite reach where the ceiling and wall meet above the first few stairs. I can’t get close enough to it without setting the ladder on the actual stairs and I need something that we can put under one half of the ladder to make up the difference in height from the stair that the other half of the ladder sits on…does that make any sense?? So we have a plan, but it sounds super scary and sketchy, so I don’t want to share it just yet until I live to tell the story!

 

So in the meantime, here are some almost after pics. I decided to go with a neutral color, since I have no plans to EVER paint this area again. I used Valspar’s Smoked Oyster which is the same color as in the kid’s playroom. It’s kind of a warm grey beige (greige?). I love how it works with the dark wood trim, but still adds some contrast. It goes with everything so I think we can live with it for a long time…We have to, because I’m not painting in here again…did I mention that already?!

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I love this next picture because I have been DYING to get some sort of window treatment hung on this window along the stairs, but could never reach it. See how much light comes through that window?! It would make the second floor a sauna in the summertime, and I can’t tell you how many birds die because they try to fly through that thing! I’m so excited to have blinds on there and I can actually reach the cord to adjust them, so it has been really awesome the last few weeks with them up.

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If you are wondering if we are living with a giant ladder on our stairs still, the answer is yes. Yes we are. It’s there just taunting me at this point.

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So there you have it! An almost after post. I’m loving how much brighter and less busy the walls feel. I feel like the beautiful wood trim is really highlighted now, where as before it sort of got lost with the pattern of the paneling. I still have to switch out the switch plates and need to add some artwork to the walls, maybe, I can’t make up my mind so I’m living with it pretty bare until I decide. Say a little prayer for me while I finish up this last spot, would ya?!

 

 

 

Magnolia

So unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper. I’m a fan. Obviously they are big into the whole modern farmhouse vibe and so am I. So when Brian had a work trip in San Antonio, TX he easily talked me into going with him (and our littles) by promising me a stop in Waco to see the Magnolia Silos. And trust me, I earned the stop by being stuck in a hotel for a week with two kids under the age of three….

Waco is about an eight hour drive for us, so we left in the evening and drove as far as we could so the kids could sleep for most of the drive. We stopped at a hotel about an hour outside of Waco so we could wake up and only have a little bit of a drive and get to the silos right after they opened. I HIGHLY suggest getting there when they open or soon after on a weekday. It was already busy, but there were still plenty of free parking spaces left and while the store and bakery were bustling with lots of people, we didn’t have to stand in line or anything.

I follow the Magnolia store on Instagram so I was prepared for everything to be beautiful, and it was. As someone who worked in retail for half of their life, I fully appreciated all the work that goes into setting displays and watching people rearrange and touch all of your hard work. I can also sympathize with all of the refolding of t-shirts that must go on in that place! The store was really clean and open and if there was something you wanted to look at but couldn’t because there was a crowd in the way, it was usually in another place or two. Things were a little pricey in my opinion, it was priced a lot like Anthropologie or West Elm. I got a t-shirt $28 and a couple candles for $26 a pop.

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We also stopped into the bakery, which is so, so tiny. It looked so much bigger on t.v.! It was worth the stop though, Brian and I both got a warmed, cheddar, bacon and chive biscuit….heavenly. I NEED that recipe in my life. I’m really kicking myself for not getting some cupcakes to go. It’s one of my biggest regrets.

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The kids’ favorite spot was the large, faux grass yard. I loved it too. It was a great way for the kids to run out some energy before we had to get back in the car and drive to San Antonio. I loved the fake grass because it looked nice and kept the kids clean…I am now wishing our lawn was fake grass. There were bins full of balls and outdoor games, but we didn’t even need them, Hollis ran laps while Bo took some wobbly steps.

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There were also big swing sets at the far edge of the lawn, but we didn’t get on them. I was impressed with how clean and tidy everything was. I can only imagine how full this lawn in on the weekends!

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There were also a couple of rows of food trucks and tons of picnic tables and places to sit. We would’ve loved to try some of them, but we were there too early. Next time, maybe. Although, I could just live on biscuits every time I go and be perfectly happy about it. They also had tours you could take that would drive you by some of the housed the Gaines’ have done. We didn’t have time for anything like that, but it would’ve been fun to see them.

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Brian even ran into someone he knew there, because of course he did, he knows everybody. We couldn’t leave without taking the obligatory picture out in front of the Magnolia sign. The employees were spread out all over the place and were all very friendly. There were a few outside the store that offered to take your picture for free, which I gladly obliged since there are only about six pictures of all four of us together in the universe. I don’t even care that we aren’t all looking at the camera….All in all, it was a good trip and I’m glad we had the opportunity to do it, and I would do it again anytime!